On Monday, October 26, 2015, CBS released the pilot episode of its new series Supergirl, which follows the adventures of Kara Zor-El, cousin of Superman, as she learns what it means to be a hero.
When Reactron shows up in National City determined to exact revenge on Superman by destroying the last of his family, Kara believes this is her opportunity to prove her worth as a hero. But is she strong enough to take on an enemy even the Man of Steel couldn’t best?
I’ll admit I did not feel as invested in this episode as I did in the previous ones. The focus remains on Kara’s need to prove herself as a hero, one in her one own right and not one that is just a “lesser” version of Superman. But somehow the continual references to Kara’s cousin often make the show seem like it really is about Superman rather than about Supergirl.
Kara makes progress a hero relatively quickly, however, (for example, we were able to bypass completely the whole debate about whether she should embrace her powers or not), so I have hope that Superman will in time fade from the show. In the meantime, her insistence that no one contact her cousin to help her (though, really, he’s left her alone for thirteen years, so I have to wonder if he would even bother) is particularly interesting in light of last episode, when she sought to distinguish herself from Superman by asking for help when she needed it and acting as part of a team. However, no one brings up the apparent contradiction between her inspiring words about accepting help and her subsequent refusal to do so.
I was disappointed by this as it seemed a prime opportunity to explore Kara’s character. Why does she feel comfortable accepting silent help from her sister and her friends, but not publicly working with Superman? Should she allow public perception of asking for aid being a weakness to influence what she does publicly? Most likely we will never see answers to these questions; the show instead just has Kara reiterate that the public needs to know she’s “as good” as Superman and wraps up with a feel-good ending that comes too easily and too soon.
I was also disappointed by the focus on Kara’s love life. It’s tiresome enough that we have to endure another awkward love triangle, but I hoped that, since Kara is so obviously interested in one man and not in the other, that we would move past it without the usual drama. Instead, the show chose to throw unnecessary baggage into the mix, so I guess we can look forward to a pointless soap opera to play out behind all the superhero-ing.
Even though parts of this episode annoyed me, however, Supergirl’s continued exuberance and dedication toward helping others makes me want to continue watching. Her joy for life is infectious and it feels incredibly fun and freeing to have a superhero who delights in life and isn’t serious all the time. Right now the show is finding its footing. I’m willing to keep watching to see if it really can find its way.